Republicans claim there is no war on women, but they continually prove themselves wrong. Part of their strategy is to silence opposing views, and in particular, to silence the women who would espouse those views.
Michigan State Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Bynum both have been banned from speaking on the floor of the House, due to comments they made on a proposed bill that would restrict access to abortions. Bynum proposed an amendment that would also limit access to vasectomies, requiring the man to provide proof of medical necessity before being allowed to have the procedure.
“It’s my impression that I’m being banned from speaking as a result of my use of the term vasectomy — a medical procedure,” Byrum told The Huffington Post.
Brown addressed the fact that the men who proposed the legislation are ignoring women’s opinions on their own reproductive health. By now the video of her speech has gone viral, with the closing line:
“I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no.”
A spokesman for the Republican House Majority Leader claims that it was their behavior and tone that resulted in the women being banned from speaking, not their opinions or their words. He accused Bynum of having a “temper tantrum.” Really???
“There have been physical altercations between at least two men on the House floor, and I don’t recall any of them every being banned from speaking,” Bynum said. “It’s just unacceptable to silence women when we’re talking about women’s reproductive rights.”
As usual, Republicans’ attempts to silence us only draw more attention to our viewpoints. On Monday night, Brown and other female lawmakers and lawyers performed Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” al fresco, on the steps of the Michigan Statehouse. The gathered audience was estimated at 5,000. The playwright also participated, and called the performance “one of the most thrilling” performances of her work in its 16 year history.
“To this day, I didn’t say anything wrong. It’s the anatomically correct terminology for the female anatomy,” she said. “If you can’t say vagina,” she added, “we shouldn’t be legislating them.”